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Resisting the Siren's song


Nanite
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Much of GW's product ranges are one-time buys too

 

It all depends on how you define a one time buy.

 

On a side note you can use that 15 year old figure but if you do happen to win at games day, expect that guy with the shiny new army of new release plastics to get his army featured. Though you may get a foot note that you won.

 

The problem I see with that whole company is they create rules changes that do not in any improve the game and serve only to sell new minis. It is fine to fix problems, bring balance, introduce new content but just to make a change for no reason other than to get me to buy something else. Sure it may be a one time buy, but next year it may be sitting on a shelf and not in my army ever again also.

 

If the rules changes made any sense even as far as the story line or history of the game goes that would at least give some grounds to doing it but most of the time they are senseless. Add that to the price point on models set around their game points cost and it gets even worse. Tack on the edition changes set up and tie in with forge world and it is even harder to swallow.

 

Their system for releasing rules changes and new codex for one army at a time every so often, is another one. It creates a flavor of the month setting as that it quickley becomes what ever army is getting the update is the most powerful, until the next army gets an update. A curious strategy to create balance, I can only imagine ... if every army is overpowered then no army is overpowered. This all got worse during the last decade when they started turning their marketing to a younger age group.

 

The move to plastic was not a price point issue either. It was part of the same strategy as when they cut off online sales. I know that sounds a bit crazy but really it is a bit crazy. Metal has a much higher value on the second hand market, where as a great many people will not buy used plastic models. Some times it is fine to buy used models but a lot of people are picky and a lot of the used models are assembled poorly, painted badly or such. With plastic being much more dificult to restore to a near new condition unlike metal, the switch to plastic knocks out a large part of the second hand market. I'll trade for and buy second hand metal minis all day long, but when it comes to plastic, I'm afraid not.

 

The use of plastic models ties into the rules changes as well. If the rules change so that a model is not useful in your army you may well try to trade it off. Now if it is painted up and hard to strip or unassemble without ruining, you are less likely to get a trade out of it. If you can't trade it for something you need then you will buy what you need new, if the second hand items are not able to be recycled enough to meet your standards. When GW starts to knock out online sales and begins to set price points with game shops on the local level, they can then raise the price of plastics. (And they did.)

Rules changes, serve to change army compositon and sell new models, not improve the game.

 

The rules change and then ForgeWorld puts out an item that is not in production by GW as the rules support thew new thing. This item will not se production until after a point in time when enough profit has been made to more than cover the expense of getting licensed to make offical products. This also keeps players paying a premium to have the latest and most effective or powerful items in their army. After a point the item will be brought into general production, if it is found to be profitable. After this the rules are change to affect the use of said premium items and new ones are written into the rules that more or less fill the same type or role.

 

Next up is White Dwarf that started as a magazine, and has become a catalogue. Once upon a time this was about the hobby and game, and now it is nothing more than a showcase of new items. But you need it, because we put rules updates and new things in there, so if you don't have it you won't know what is out there and you are up against, or you won't be up to date and have that extra edge on your opponent.

 

The offical tourneys. These too play into sales rather than the hobby or game. When you are scored on army composition? Ever lost points for using older figures that were still offical. Well it is because it can be confusing to new players because it is not the newest version and they may not know what they are. You minis must be painted, Well yes they must because if they are unpainted when we change the rules they will keep most of their value and that could cost us a sale on the primary market if they enter into the second hand market, as painted plastic models have less value. Bringing in a younger generation works in part with this as well. like so...

 

Children do not tend to stay with the hobby as long as does an adult. A child buys into a game, usually with their parrents money. For an adult it is a bit more of an investment.

Kids want to play in the tourneys so they slap paint on and slob glue on, (Mind you some children take great care and do put out a great effort and take pride in what they do, but most I've seen in cons and tourneys just are getting them painted to be on the table.)

The children either fall out of interest in the game, rules change, change to the new flavor of the month, or for some other reason want to get rid of or change out their figures.

Plastic poorly assembled and painted, are much less valueable second hand.

 

 

The list goes on but the bottom line is that

 

GW is not at this time, (Though they once were) about the hobby.

I understand a company must make money, but there are better ways to generate sales.

 

Good customer service.

Quality products.

A FAIR price.

All work to build a customer base.

 

Once you have a customer base, work to keep them.

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Thank you for saying what I was bitting my tongue on.

 

I love 40K for the most part; though the various games have SUCKED!

 

I'll still play it, but won't buy anymore stuff for it and if I hadn't gotten the 4th edition rules as a steal, we'd still be using Rogue Trader version rules and Space Hulk stuff. ::):

 

But, to each their own. At least Reaper's not requiring I get new figures every other year with a new/re-done sourcebook every year. Perhaps that's why they're not a massive evil game empire like those "other" guys. :devil:

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I want to address this post better later, but I'm on my blackberry and its a bit harder to do full responses.

 

I do find some of your arguments a bit tenuous (plastics to kill the secondary market?!? Do you know how much labor, capital and design goes into tooling plastic injection molding? ESPECIALLY if you do it in-house and not sub-contract), but I'll see if I can respond later...

 

Damon.

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I can see the point that the plastics aren't as desirable on the secondary market as the pewter, but I feel that GW probably sees that more as a side effect of selling in plastic, rather than the reason to. Whether or not it actually benefits GW is debatable. I can see the points of the argument that it does, but I am highly suspicious of the argument that it brings in enough additional revenue to offset the tooling costs.

 

One thing I can tell you benefits them, and ultimately the consumer - I've never seen any one selling resin counterfeits of their plastic models, but I've run across dozens of resin counterfeits of their pewter over the years.

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Plastic minis is entirely about cost. A plastic mini in large enough production runs is pennies on the dollar compared to metal. Plastic is cheaper to buy as a raw material, it is cheaper to manufacture once you hit the right quantity (and it really isn't terribly high or hard to get to), and it is far cheaper to ship.

 

Most the costs involved in plastics are based on the mold manufacturing process - and if you have the capabilities to make those molds in house, the cost of plastics becomes almost as low as making the rubber molds used for metal minis.

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Perries are getting into multi-part plastic historicals now. Their first line out should be some ACW figures, and from the looks of it, it will be the harder palstic GW uses. I wonder if they are subcontracting through GW as their recent affiliation with them as sculptors or if they are outsourcing it.

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Yeah, they are using the styrene used by GW and others...though I don't know if it is being contracted through GW for production.

 

I do know that plastics are becoming a lot cheaper for smaller companies, and you can even get the equipment for doing garage industry castings for less than you can get a vulcanizer/spin caster for doing white metal work. While you won't be pumping out thousands of sprues a day, the ones I have been looking at have a turnaround time faster than most spin casters...plus you have the added benefit of being able to use much larger sets in each mold.

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While everyone has some good comments, the thing about injection molded plastic manufacture is that the initial startup costs are expensive. Very expensive. The injection molder itselt (assuming just one machine) can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions, depending on the unit bought (and GW would definitely be doing rapid, high volume molding). Also, if GW is cutting its own molds in-house (which I have some doubts, but lets assume that is the case), then the machine tools to cut high-pressure steel injection molds are also very expensive. If GW is going to invest several million dollars in capital improvements, tooling, personell, facilities, and the like in order to undercut the secondary market, not only would that be a colossally wasteful business investment, but it would be stupid as well. As others have mentioned, the biggest advantage of injection molding is the profit margin. Once a product "sells through" (i.e. the profit margin pays of the cost of tooling), then the cost of plastic and running the injection molding machine is a pittance and the profit margin can be very good on a per-unit basis.

 

Complaints about WD are valid, but that's not really a discussion on the cost-per-product argument we've been having.

 

WRT to the FOrgeworld issue, there is nothing, NOTHING preventing a player from fielding a unit not in production either by GW or Forgeworld...except for his skill in conversion. GW has always encouraged conversion, scratch-building, and the like. Forgeworld I think creates an expectation that GW is oblidged to create a product for every army list entry. IMHO, conversion has always been a facet of GW's hobby approach (FREX, my HE archers are conversions of the current plastic spearmen...which I did because they are cooler than the OLD HE archers). There are no armored HE archers in either FW or GW. People pay for FW premium service not because GW forces them to (why would they when they JUST came out with a Baneblade model that is 1/3 the cost of the FW item??? UNdercutting their OWN product line???), but because they offer products people want -- either because its cooler, more convenient, or beyond the individual skill of the modeler.

 

Damon.

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If GW is going to invest several million dollars in capital improvements, tooling, personell, facilities, and the like in order to undercut the secondary market, not only would that be a colossally wasteful business investment, but it would be stupid as well

 

It is not the sole reason. It is a reason factored with other things. Sure it brings over all cost down in the long run, but the long run is shortened by expanded sales. The idea of switching over to make something cheeper is only sweetened by the thought that they will sell more as a result, without passing on their cost savings to the consumer. In the begining costs can remain high due to the process of retooling, they can stay high to due to the "High cost" of manufacturing plastics, but even after this process has more than paid for itself the prices can be kept at a premium, aided by the bite it has taken out of the second hand market. I assure GW is not selling the BFSP or BFMC sets at a loss, so why so much plastic for so little cash. Even if they were letting these go at cost the amount of plastic in them per cost vs a unit of plastic terminators per cost is crazy.

As far as plastics being a cheeper operation than metal casting, there is more in cost than just tooling the die and such. I've been in the metal casting world a while as a process tech, QA, and programmer, for a diecast and forgeing plant. Mostly we made auto parts, though sometimes we would take on some smaller things. My best friend works at one of the two local plastics plants, he works in injection and blow molding. I can assure that the long term maintance on a plastic casting setup is a lot cheeper than metal. In the most simple of terms, try freeing some hung plastic up from a die, try doing it with metal, I've seen tool and die guys out there for hours with a torch and tiny pick an tools. I've been in a few myself. I admit it is on a bigger scale so it can not be a direct comparison but still over all the cost of labor for plastics should be a lot lower.

 

As far as forge World goes. There is nothing to keep me from fielding my own figure. Forge World is essecne a part of GW and is factored into their marketing. In part it serves as a testing ground among other things. GW has supported conversion and such, however to be legal in an offical tournement your model must use a certain % of gw bits or parts or such. Not that that is usually an issue. Forge World gets to have it's paws on a few items for an amount of time before GW gets to put them out, if they will be a profitable item. The bane Blade, and wave serpent are a fine example. Can anyone think of a good reason to not put out the wave serpent sooner than they did. Well lets look at one option with that.

The Eldar have this one transport.

Forge World makes it or you have to convert it.

GW says, "Hey Elder are getting a new codex." and release a wave serpent.

Kids and such jump on and start buying Eldar just to get into the flavor of the month and pick up a lot of stuff before the new codex comes out.

The new codex comes out and then changes the rules for the Eldar.

Kids find they can't use how they thought they could some of the items they bought ahead of time and then spend more money on new plastic or try to trade.

Forge World does assist in the GW price plan from the point that items they produce usually become quite desireable, in part supported by the rules that accompany them. When these items hit general release then they usually see great sales because so many people have been wanting one. True they may well have sold just as good if they were in general release to begin with, but they were able to eek out those few years of super premium sales as resin models.

 

Also the counterfitting issue is totaly correct. Plastics usually help everyone around the table in that. I've bought my share of fake lead and not knowing it until after I've had it. Usually on ebay actually.

 

I'm not saying any one of these reasons is their sole reason for going plastic, just you would be shocked to how much they have factored into the change over. I assure it is not just to produce better quality models at a lower price to the consumer.

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You say all that as if it's all calculated out - based on my experiences with GW, I don't think they really care what factors create the profit, as long as it's profitable.

 

Take the creation of Forgeworld - Armorcast had a license to create 28mm resin models of Epic vehicles and Titans - GW saw how many of the Eldar Falcon's GW was selling, and decided to yank the license, and release a plastic version. AFter that, they realized how profitable the resin models were overall, and yanked the entire license. Not only did they yank the license to create their own, they did so at three or more times the price point - the original Armorcast BaneBlade was less than $50. I see the same thing in the FW-GW relationship - if a model does extremely well at FW, they look into mass producing it at GW. I've seen no evidence to convince me it's a calculated plan to manipulate the rules of individual models to maximize product - frankly, the bean counters don't seem that competant with game rules. Individual lines/armies, yes, individual models - I doubt it - they'd have ground themselves into the ground long before now.

 

Remember that GW is a publicly traded company - their shareholders demand profit, and anything profitable will take precedence over something less profitable - no matter if it was a calculated strategy or a pure accident.

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Well, GW did recently change over leadership I think.

So who knows, I would actually like the company come around and be more player friendly. As much as I get onto GW about their rules flaws and poor business tactics, I did like what they used to be and should like to see them return to their roots so to say.

 

With the drop in their stock prices over the last several years, maybe things will turn around.

I would really love to sit down and play a game of 40K that was fun.

 

I can't really know how it is in other places but here most of the GW players are kids. The few grey beards that play here, well... they are not worth knowing.

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Is the rumored 5th edition going to sink 40k?

 

I just don't get how players stand it when GW goes years without giving their army a new release. With GW's size and capital, I would think they could make more then a handful of new minis a year?

 

It's not as if they don't have a fanbase that's willing to buy?

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Each new edition is rumors as "This is the end of GW as we know it!"

but it isn't... they sell more books, they sell more models (which honestly - fluff wise and model wise for the most part are improvements) and the core game pretty much stills stays the same (in that is isn't anything special)

 

Life goes on.

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I don't think it's just 5th edition that's going to sink 40k. There are a lot of seemingly bad decisions coming out in the last few months.

 

The eradication of the bits service is grating on some people. Not only have 99% of the pieces been removed from availability, but right now you can't even get the few that are left from the online store, at least in the US.

 

The fact that the shiny new Daemon Codex due out this summer won't be able to be used as allies with the recently released (and gutted, according to some) Chaos Space Marine Codex has others up in arms. They're basically releasing a brand new army by trimming it out of the corpse of one that has existed for years.

 

Then there's the cancellation of the long-awaited and much-ballyhooed 'Dark Heresy' RPG days after it released.

 

The impending release of 5th edition and the way it will impact a lot of armies is freaking some people out. Mostly this is because they just bought all these vehicles to use in Apocalpyse, and the rules floating around the internet drastically change how effective many vehicles are going to be. Combine that with the fact that the first codex for 5th edition is yet another update for Space Marines and you alienate even more players.

 

I don't know that any one of these is enough to sink the dreadnaught that 40k has been, but combined they might just be the perfect storm that puts her under.

 

Everything else aside, GW's share price is barely hovering above 200p (about US $4 per share), and they posted a loss in the first six months of their current fiscal year. They need to do something to get the share price up, but right now all of their 'cost-cutting' measures seem to be reducing their sales more than they are saving in costs. I personally have a not totally irrational thought that 5th edition was mandated at the highest levels in order to try to get a boost in sales similar to what was seen when 4th edition was released at the end of 2004. I am not writing it off, but I'm not buying anything right now either.

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